Producer Butch Lukic has been an integral part of the DC Animated Universe for decades. Known for his many collaborations with industry legends Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, Lukic has helped bring some of DC’s most memorable animated adventures to life. As one of the chief architects of this burgeoning phase of DC’s animated continuity, Lukic has quite a lot of say in what we as an audience end up seeing onscreen. We recently caught up with Butch about his latest project, Legion of Super-Heroes, diving deep into DC’s animated continuity and exploring what makes these stories so popular among fans...
STARBURST: Let’s start with a brief, spoiler-free synopsis about what Legion of Super-Heroes is about…
Butch Lukic: Well, it starts off with Kara and her mother escaping the explosion of Krypton and then she ends up on Earth. She becomes Supergirl at first, but it’s her first few weeks, or few months, there, and obviously she’s not getting along with the League. So Superman decides to present her to Legion of Super-heroes in the 31st century to learn the trade of being a superhero.
Aside from the 31st-century setting and the fact that these characters are still finding their footing as heroes, what makes the Legion different from other super-teams?
I think because they’re from the 31st century, they build their ideology after the original Superman. I always looked at them more like a teen group, which they are. In that respect, I thought of them more as a Teen Titan type of comic book story. Also, the ideology and the utopian society (compared to what we in the present day would have to deal with). It’s a training ground for new kids to become heroes. Because they’re so far in the future, they’re pretty removed from the original Justice League. Sure, they were inspired by them but there’s some distance at this point.
You’ve been involved with DC for a long time – what excites you most about this new phase of DC’s animated continuity?
The fact that we can do these characters at this point. Obviously, there’ve been stories where we have had to introduce characters most people don’t know about and haven’t seen. It’s a good introductory piece for general DC followers and fans who aren’t as deeply familiar with DC’s characters. Plus, it serves our needs for continuing this storyline, where we’re headed with this, I don’t know, “Tomorrowverse”? The running joke in-house was that it was called the “Butchverse.”
This mix of loose adaptations and wholly original stories has been excellent. What has been most rewarding for you as a producer of this blend of stories?
For me, it came about because of Long Halloween, which is the one I wanted to do. They got me to do that but then they wanted for me to continue into that batch of films that would become continuity. That was the fun part: build the story, build the characters, eventually get to high points in the story, so all that was kinda my “best-of” in terms of what I wanted to see in these movies. Plus the different types of genres I got to do, like the WWII stuff.
Is there anything you can tell us about what DC is cooking up for us next?
The next upcoming film is Justice League: Warworld, and it’s pretty heavy with action and locales and things like that!
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES is out now to rent/buy digitally, and is also available on DVD/Blu-ray!